• Linda Wilson

The Ghost in the Gift Shop


May, 2020: Do you like to shop? Shopping is my sister-in-law Janice’s favorite pastime. She has the most beautiful collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, shoes and purses you ever saw.

One day, Janice was searching for the next perfect purse at a local gift shop. Some of the shop’s more desirable purses hung on a vertical display. In fact, the display reached from floor to ceiling. As Janice worked her way up, she reached a point where she would have needed a step ladder to get to the purses at the top.


Her mom, who had been gone for a number of years by then, had always supported Janice, and all of us for that matter, with whatever we chose to do in our families, careers, and free time. If she could have been with Janice on that particular day, she would have helped Janice pick out the perfect choice. But wait, maybe she did help.


The most beautiful purse hung just out of Janice’s reach at the top of the display. Before even touching it, Janice knew that was the purse she’d been looking for. She stood on her tippy toes trying to reach it, but couldn’t get a hold of even a corner of it. At that moment, a hand gently took hold of Janice’s hand and stretched it just far enough for Janice to grab hold of the purse and lift it down. Janice looked first at the purse, then at the empty space where it had been hanging, but the helping hand had vanished.

Do you have the goosebumps yet? I can never tell this story without getting them. In a daze, Janice bought the purse but hated to leave the store because from the moment she’d laid hands on the soft leather, she’d felt her mother’s presence. She lingered for a while, warming herself to the experience of having her mother close to her once again, before finally having to leave.

Do you recognize yet how this story became a part of Secret in the Stars? Knowing that the part in the book is based on a true story hopefully will enhance your enjoyment of Abi’s experience with her own guiding hand.




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